Rural Metro Receives Hefty Penalty

By: Jim Freeman
By: Jim Freeman

Knoxville (WVLT) - The ambulance company you depend on to respond to your emergencies in Knox County is facing an expensive penalty.

Rural Metro must pay Knox County $97,500 for violations of their contract.

Jim Freeman found out what they're doing to fix the problem.

"When seconds count, count on us." That’s Rural Metro's slogan.

And at this very second, rural metro is making changes to make sure it lives up to that slogan.

When you need an ambulance, you want the quickest response possible, but recently for Knox Countians.

"That's been down,” says Knox County Health Department Director Mark Jones. “The response time has been down on that specific part of the contract."

And while that may be a scary thought for you, for Rural/Metro, it's a costly thought.

"We've asked for a corrective plan of action that we will be receiving this week,” Jones says.

It's due out Wednesday. But changes are already taking place.

"Changes were made this past weekend,” Jones says. “Their performance level for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday was back to normal."

"Just yesterday, we were at 92.3% compliance,” says Tre Hargett, Rural Metro southern region vice president.

Mark Jones calls Rural/Metro's contract with Knox County one of the strictest in the country.

Ambulances must arrive on the scene of an emergency call within 10 minutes 90 percent of the time.

Rural/Metro responded to more than 60,000 calls over the past year. More than half of those were emergency calls. That's almost 3,000 calls a month.

Calls were up in May. Rural/Metro fell short of its 90 percent goal.

"What it boils down to though is we've had a real problem hiring paramedics. It's a nationwide, statewide, and even a problem that affects us here in Knox County,” says Hargett.

Rural/Metro is quickly taking steps to shore up its staff.

"In the last four days, we've hired eight new employees,” Hargett says.

Mark Jones says he expects superior service for Knox Countians.

"This past month was a bump in the road. By the end of July, we believe we're gonna be fully compliant and exceeding compliance. And the people here in Knox County are going to get the service they deserve,” Hargett says.

Volunteer TV will have more on that corrective plan of action when it's released Wednesday.

Rural Metro is offering a $6,000 bonus to new paramedics.

To apply, visit the link below or apply in person at 910 Callahan Road.

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Join the Conversation!

While WVLT allows comments on articles, we ask that you respect the online community. Comments may be removed at any time for violations including:

  • Obscenity, profanity, vulgarity, racism, violent descriptions, name-calling or personal attacks.
  • Abuse of multiple accounts.
  • Off-topic comments.

Comments may be checked for inappropriate content or rule violation, but the station is under no legal obligation to monitor or remove comments. If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator. 
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

  • by patsy whetsell Location: knoxville city on Jul 11, 2007 at 11:19 AM
    they take two long to get their and some of their people are not sure waht to do.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 10, 2007 at 08:50 PM
    IF they would up the pay for metro's empoloyees, they may be able to keep them. metro is losing employees to other services due to money. when it comes down to it, money talks.


6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Copyright © 2015 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 8409547 -
Gray Television, Inc.